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FIU Plaintiff’s Counsel Opening Statement Essay

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Mock Trial
Case: Johnson vs. Coldrock Tire and Rubber Company
In March 2016, John “Johnny” Johnson, a mechanic employed by Infiniti of Parkland,
attempted to mount a 16-inch tire on a 17-inch rim of an Infiniti G35 wheel. While
installing the tire, he leaned and reached over the assembly and the tire exploded,
causing him serious, permanent injuries. Mr. Johnson lost three fingers of his right hand
in the accident, as well as the vision in his right eye. In addition to his job at the
dealership, Mr. Johnson was an aspiring reggae musician who the day of the accident
had received a multi-million-dollar record contract offer from Tinseltown Records. Mr.
Johnson filed suit in Florida’s 17th Judicial Circuit Court against his employer, American
Hawk Company– the manufacturer of the wheel, Nissan Motor Company – the
manufacturer of the automobile and designer of the wheel and Coldrock Tire and
Rubber Company – the manufacturer of the tire. Mr. Johnson had 10 years of
experience as a mechanic and had received three days of on-site training from
representatives of Coldrock. The dealership, wheel manufacturer and automobile
manufacturer all settled, leaving Coldrock as the remaining defendant.
This is a civil tort case and not a criminal one. Causes of actions will consist of claims
1. Negligence, and
2. (Strict) product liability
An issue in the case is the labeling on the tire. The tire had a label, advising users never
to mount a 16-inch tire on a 17-inch rim, warning of the danger of severe injury or death,
and included a drawing of a mechanic leaning over the tire to install it with a circle and
red line drawn through it. Whether the label was sufficiently conspicuous or adequately
depicted the resulting danger or risk of injury, remains an open issue. In depositions,
Johnson admitted that he ignored these warnings at the urging of his employer, especially
because it was common practice to install smaller tires on larger rims of the Infiniti G35.
During discovery, Johnson’s attorneys explored why Coldrock did not use a safer “bead”
design. The bead is a rubber encased steel wire, which circles the tire and holds it on to
the rim. Each side has offered up experts, with Johnson’s pointing out that other
manufacturers use different and safer bead designs and Coldrock’s arguing that the
Coldrock design was the safest in the industry, and a different design would not have
changed the outcome.
The defendant in the case is Roger “Cole” Coldrock, CEO of the company, who is being
represented by the Wall Street firm of Ben, Jarvis, Green & Ellis, LLP. The plaintiff is
being represented by the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum & Howe, LLP, a specialist in
product liability suits. The assigned judge in the case is the Hon. Solomon Cardozo
Holmes, a recent appointee by the Republican governor. Before his appointment, Judge
Holmes was in private practice with a large Fort Lauderdale firm; his major client was
General Motors.
o JUDGES 3 available role per mock trial
▪ The umpires of the court room
o PLAINTIFF: 1 available role per trial
▪ John “Johnny” Johnson, a mechanic employed by Infiniti of Parkland
and an aspiring reggae musician
o PLAINTIFF’S COUNSEL 4 available roles per trial
o DEFENDANT: 1 available role per mock trial
▪ CEO of Coldrock, Roger “Cole” Coldrock, 87, a legend in the
industry, whose family started the business after World War II.
o DEFENDANT’S COUNSEL: 4 available roles per mock trial
o WITNESSES: 1 available role per witness per mock trial
• Mickey Wrenchwell (1)-A mechanic and one of the plaintiff’s
• Sandra Somerville (1)-A customer who witnessed the accident
• Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (1)- A retired Ford Motor Company
mechanical engineer and an expert in automobile stability
control systems who the plaintiff has hired as an expert
witness to testify as to the inherent hazard in installing a
smaller tire on a larger rim
• Dr. Christina Hernandez -(1)- A former mechanical engineer
and former employee of Firestone who the defense has hired
as its expert witnesses
o JURORS: 6-9 per mock trial
• A Jury is a group of people who took an oath to render an
impartial verdict in a court case
Additional Information:
Is this a civil trial or criminal trial?
This is a civil case because it involves an individual suing an organization or a business. A civil
case can be instituted by a private individual, a business entity, or a government can sue an
organization or an individual. The case also qualifies for consideration as civil because all
involved did not break particular laws or commit criminal activity. Lastly, this is an equitable
claim civil case because the plaintiff presents various claims against the defendant.
Who is your client?
The client in this scenario is John “Johnny” Johnson, a mechanic working at Infiniti of Parkland.
He is currently represented by a law firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, LLP. Based on this type of
civil law case, the client or plaintiff can also be referred to as the claimant because he institutes a
claim against the defendant. This client is chosen based on the facts arising from the case scenario;
for example, the defendant’s decision to ineffectively label the tire potentially caused the
explosion. Also, the plaintiff’s employer assumed that because it was a commonality to install
smaller tires on larger rims of the Infiniti G35. This was a cause of neglect by the defendant and
Johnson’s employer, who argued against the user directions indicated on the tire.
Who is suing whom? And on what basis?
Johnson is suing Coldrock Tire and Rubber Company, the designer of the wheel in question.
However, the plaintiff will sue the company through its chief executive, Roger “Cole” Coldrock.
The defendant is represented by the Wall Street firm of Ben, Jarvis, Green & Ellis, LLP. The legal
proceeding is founded on the point that the defendant failed to label the tire explicitly. Also, the
plaintiff claims that the label was not sufficiently conspicuous or effectively depicted, resulting in
the risks and danger witnessed in the scenario.
What are the causes of action?
To establish and substantiate a prima facie civil case ground, the plaintiff, Johnson, will be
required to provide adequate submissions substantiating how the defendant indicated negligence
that caused harm before requesting the court to offer relief. The set of actions that warrant the
grounds for this case include severe permanent injuries caused by the tire’s explosion. The plaintiff
sustained injuries; he lost three fingers on his right hand and a permanent vision loss in his right
eye. Therefore, the elements to help argue the negligence cause of action, the plaintiff will have to
prove or defend breach, harm, duty, and causation. The set of facts presented in the case indicates
that Infiniti of Parkland’s manager failed in his duty, Coldrock Tire and Rubber Company breached
the user-wellness expectation, the plaintiff suffered harm, and Coldrock Tire and Rubber
Company’s product caused harm.
Witnesses Statement:
WITNESSES: 1 available role per witness per mock trial
• Mickey Wrenchwell (1)-A mechanic and one of the plaintiff’s co-workers
• Sandra Somerville (1)-A customer who witnessed the accident
• Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (1)- A retired Ford Motor Company mechanical engineer and an
expert in automobile stability control systems who the plaintiff has hired as an expert
witness to testify as to the inherent hazard in installing a smaller tire on a larger rim
• Dr. Christina Hernandez -(1)- A former mechanical engineer and former employee of
Firestone who the defense has hired as its expert witnesses
1. Mickey Wrenchwell:
My name is Mickey Wrenchwell, I am 45 years old, and I have been employed at Infiniti of
Parkland as a mechanic for 9 years. In this affidavit, I will provide as much information as I can
on John’s character.
John and I were co-workers. Given that we both performed the maintenance services at the
Infiniti dealership we were always in close proximity to one another when performing our
duties. The two of us also had similar work schedules, so I interacted with him on many
occasions while on the job.
To be frank, John was not popular around the dealership. Him showing up late to work was a
common occurrence and when he was at the dealership, he rarely pulled his own weight while
on the job. Apparently, the man has ten years of experience as a mechanic and after watching
him “in action” … it didn’t show. Instead of working, John spent most of his time babbling on
about his grandiose tales of one day getting his big break in the music industry to anyone who
would listen. Assuming we were friends, John frequently spoke to me about wanting to quit his
job at the dealership. Saying that, his true calling was music and that he only became a
mechanic because he desperately needed the money. John came to work and did just enough
so he could keep getting that paycheck at the end of every week.
The day of the tire explosion, John seemed more disinterested in the job than usual. He
arrived at the dealership about two hours late and when he was confronted by the general
manager about it, he seemed nothing but indifferent to his lecturing. Throughout the day,
every time he was given a task to do by one of the higher ups, he responded with a muffled
grumble and did the bare minimum required of him to do or would just pass the work onto me.
When opportunity presented itself, John pulled me to the side and told me that he’d finally
gotten the record contract he had been pursuing for his music career. I noticed this meant a lot
to him, so not wanting to be rude, I congratulated him and right afterwards John was called up
to install tires on a customer’s G35.
2. Sandra Somerville:
My name is Sandra Somerville and I was a born in the United States and I am 30 years
old. I am currently an accountant with a private firm. I was a witness to the accident that
occurred in March of 2016. In March of 2016, I had made time to get my Honda Civic Sport
checked up on. I had asked for a service of an oil change and an alignment of my tires. This
mechanic shop is one that I go to often for my regular car needs. I have seen Mr. Johnson a
couple of times that I have come, and he has helped me before. Mr. Johnson has assisted me
once or twice before. During my wait time at the mechanic shop, it was a regular day with the
regular business that they usually have. While grabbing a cup of coffee from their
complimentary station, I hear a loud explosion and a loud scream. The entire shop drops what
they are doing, and the mechanics go to check out what the explosion was. One of the
mechanics comes rushing into the waiting area and picks up the front desk telephone and calls
911. The mechanic explains that someone is severely injured, and they need help as soon as
possible. As all the employee are crowded around Mr. Johnson, I notice that there is a pool of
blood collecting and the center of him and I see that he is gripping his arm and looks in terrible
pain. At that moment, I realized what had happened. Mr. Johnson had a terrible accident and I
see that he was also gripping his hand. To me it seemed as if Mr. Johnson was not going to
make it with the amount of blood that was pooling. I was petrified at the scene I was
witnessing. About six minutes after the call the ambulance had arrived, at this time they
collected Mr. Johnson and took him straight to what I can assume is the hospital. I was feeling
very queasy so I explained to them that I would be going across the street to get refreshments.
Once I came back, my car was ready, and I was able to collect my belongings and go home.
3. Dr. Stanley Goodspeed:
I, the undersigned, Dr. Stanley Goodspeed, retired mechanical engineer and expert in
automobile stability control system with more than 40 years of experience in the field, with a
bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, a Master Degree in University of Miami
from Mechanical Engineering, and passing score on Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and
Professional Engineering (PE) exam. Worked for 30 years + in Ford Motor Company and retired
from this prestigious automobile company; hereby certify that I am an expert witness to testify
for the witness as to the inherent hazard in installing a smaller tire on a larger rim. I witness
that the Plaintiff is on his right to claim his accident occurred on March 2016, either the label of
advising “users never to mount a 16-inch on a 17-inc rim” was sufficiently conspicuous or
adequately depicted because we can see that this was a very common practice to install small
tires on larger rims on the “Infiniti G35” of course always with the approval of “the consumer”
and on this industry it is very common to make this types of changes if the consumer want it to
do it. Based on every Public Safe Department for each State there has to be a safety bead
design for tires to avoid catastrophes accidents as this because the tired bead is an integral
component of any tire, and it can be found at the tire’s inner circle where it connects to the
wheel rim and besides how Coldrock make his unique way the “Bead” it is also needs to have
two bead bundles one in the inner side and one on the outer side which it not seems is this
4. Dr. Christina Hernandez
I, Dr. Christina Hernandez, swear under oath, that the following information is within my
personal knowledge and belief. I am a certified mechanical engineer with over 20 years of
experience in this field. I am a Professional Licensed Engineer. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in
mechanical engineering at Florida International university. I have also worked with over 30
recognized tire companies in the installment of tires. I have been working at Firestone Company
for more than 10 years.
Tires vary in diameter and size. Every tire has a series in its sidewall. The series shows
the number of layers in the tire, its construction pattern, and its diameter (Firestone). With tire
diameter, I get details about the rim size I need to install a tire. When the tire diameter does
not match tire rim, I believe that it is not safe to lean over a tire in an assembly machine due to
a possible sudden tire rupture. Both the diameter and rim must always be the same size (US
Tires Manufacturers Association). All tires include a bead design. The beads are made of fillers
that give balance and keep a tire in its place (Firestone). Beads are also designed with an inner
filler that determines a tire’s density and stiffness (Firestone). During inflation, beads how much
a tire can expand in diameter. It maintains the safe limit of pressure and stiffness of a tire
(Saurabh Jain). When a tire is not mounted with the correct rim, this makes a tire exceed the
limit of the bead. This accelerates the tire’s temperature. Science confirms that when the
temperature in a tire increase, so does the momentum, which makes gas molecules hit the tire
sidewall harder (Materials Research Laboratory). As a certified mechanical engineer, I know
that since the tires are made of rubber, they can expand but to a limit (Materials Research
Laboratory). When a tire goes above its limit, the bead bursts over the rim, causing the tire to
explode. As a professional, I have tested tires many times, and know that when the rules and
regulations set forth by us the experts are followed, there is no danger. With 20 years of
experience, I guarantee the ColdRock design is safe
Anatomy of an opening: the basics
1. An Introduction:
o Attorney identifies themself (or not)
▪ A typical introduction: “Your Honor, members of the jury, my name
is (full name), representing the prosecution/defendant in this case.”
▪ If they have already been introduced, some attorneys just go
right into their opening to save time, create drama, and make it
look more like a real trial.
o A theory of the case
▪ One or two sentences which tell the jury what your case is
▪ “My client, Landry Lopez, was fired for reporting an illegal activity to
his employer, the restaurant Buddies Burgers.”
o Briefly tell the jury why they are there

“This case is brought under Oregon whistle blower law, which
prohibits employers for retaliating against employees who have a
reasonable belief that an illegal activity has occurred and report it. ”
2. A brief overview (story) of what the evidence will show
o Presented from your side’s perspective
o Purpose is to give the jury the big picture
o “The facts of this case are straightforward. The evidence will show that on May 5,
2016, Landry Lopez saw . . .”
3. A brief explanation of what has to be proved
o “Under Oregon whistle blower law there are three elements that must be
proven. First. .”
4. Identify the witnesses
o “We will call three witnesses: Landry Lopez, Sam Jackson, a former Buddies
Burgers employee, and Tyler Erickson, a journalist student.”
5. Tell what the key testimony of each witness will be
o “Mr. Lopez will tell you that . . .”
o “Next, Plaintiff will call Ms. Jackson, a former BB employee. . “.
o “Finally, you will the testimony of Tyler Erickson, who was with Mr. Lopez . . . “
6. A conclusion
o Discuss the burden of proof (some put this near the beginning)
▪ “This is a civil case and Plaintiff Landry Lopez must prove his case by a
preponderance of the evidence.” (Explain briefly and illustrate with
hands what a preponderance of the evidence means)
o Restate the theory of the case
▪ “Oregon’s whistle blower law exists to protect, and encourage,
employees to report illegal activity in the workplace. Mr. Lopez
engaged in such whistle blower activity and was fired for doing so. “
o Tell the jury what you want
▪ “For these reasons, after you have heard all the evidence, at the end of
this trial we will ask you to return a verdict in favor of Landry Lopez.”
▪ “At the end of the trial the State of Oregon will ask you to find the
Defendant guilty of . . . . .”
▪ “Based on the evidence you will hear; at the end of the trial the
Defendant will ask you to return a verdict of not guilty

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